China Daily, China
Constructing all-round economic and trade partnerships
8 December 2011
China stresses all-round development in its foreign trade. China adheres to developing economic and trade partnerships based on practical cooperation and mutual benefit with all countries, no matter whether they are big or small, rich or poor.
China enjoys steady growth in its trade with developed countries, and realizes complementary advantages as well as reciprocity and mutual benefit. China’s trade with the European Union has been developing steadily in recent years. The European Union mainly exports manufactured products to China, including advanced mechanical and electronic products, transport vehicles, complete plants, core parts and components, precision components and other high-tech products which are highly competitive in the Chinese market. Foreign trade between China and the United States has a solid development base. China exports a large variety of consumer goods to meet the demands of American consumers, while satisfying its own need for development by constantly expanding imports of electronic, aerospace, biological, medical, agricultural and services trade items from the United States. China and Japan are geographically proximate to each other and this is an advantage in bilateral trade. Sino-Japanese trade promotes continuous cooperation and progress in industry while spurring the development of regional economic comparative advantages and cooperation in East Asia. China’s trade and investment cooperation with developed countries such as Canada, Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand also maintain a good momentum of development.
China’s trade with emerging economies and developing countries is experiencing robust growth, with huge development potential. With the comprehensive implementation of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement in 2010, tariffs have been cancelled for 90 percent of the commodities traded between them, vigorously promoting the rapid growth of bilateral trade between China and ASEAN. The free entry of specialties and competitive products into each other’s market suits the various needs of the two sides. Foreign trade between China and the Republic of Korea keeps growing constantly and steadily. Bilateral investment and economic cooperation also present broad prospects. China’s trade with the other BRIC countries has been enjoying rapid growth in recent years, which promotes the development of the member countries’ respective advantageous industries and shows the broad development prospects of emerging markets. In recent years China has seen relatively fast growth in its trade with other developing countries, further development of trade with its historical trading partners in the Arab world, broadening areas of economic and trade cooperation with Latin American countries, and bilateral trade with African countries, which gives full play to the complementary advantages of the two sides’ resources and economic structures.
China attaches great importance to the institutional set-up of bilateral and regional economic and trade cooperation. Currently over 150 countries and regions have signed agreements on bilateral trade or economic cooperation with China, which has established and maintains high-level economic dialogue mechanisms with the United States, Europe, Japan, Great Britain, Russia and other major economies. China proactively participates in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, ASEAN (10+3) meetings, which also include Japan and the Republic of Korea, the East Asia Summit, Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Committee, Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Committee, Greater Tumen Initiative, and other regional and subregional economic cooperation mechanisms. China adheres to the principle of "good neighborly friendship and partnership" in establishing and developing various forms of border economic and trade cooperation.
China takes proactive initiatives to participate in and promote regional economic integration. By the end of 2010 China had held 15 rounds of negotiations on free trade or closer economic partnership arrangements with 28 countries and regions on five continents, and signed and implemented 10 free trade agreements or closer economic partnership arrangements. Currently five free trade agreement talks are under way. China advocates the establishment of an East Asia free trade zone. In 2010 the total volume of bilateral trade in goods between China and its trade partners in its ten free trade agreements or closer economic partnership arrangements (ASEAN, Pakistan, Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, Peru, Costa Rica, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan) reached US$782.6 billion, accounting for over a quarter of the country’s total import and export volume.
China has actively participated in and promoted the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round talks, and strives to safeguard the authority of the multilateral trading system. China stresses that the negotiations should be conducive to the implementation of the principle of fairness and justice of the multilateral trading system, and reflect the goal of the Doha Round as a development round. China takes part in the Doha Round’s talks on agriculture, non-agricultural goods, services, rules and other issues, submitting over 40 negotiating texts on its own and over 100 texts with other members. To promote the Doha Round talks, China repeatedly expressed its wish to make constructive contributions suited to its level of development.
In settling disputes with its trading partners, China gives consideration to the interests of all parties, and seeks common ground while shelving differences. Since China’s entry into the WTO and with the continuous growth of its imports and exports, the number of trade disputes and frictions between China and its trading partners has increased. These cases mainly involved textile products, shoes, tires, car parts and components, steel and chemical products, and mainly covered the issues of IPR, trade balance, fair trade, food safety, environmental protection and other areas of concern. China has always preferred dialogue to confrontation, and cooperation to pressure, and chooses to settle disputes between trading partners through consultation and negotiation. China adheres to giving consideration to and balancing the interests of all parties and settling disputes through dialogue, consultation and negotiation by utilizing bilateral and multilateral channels and following the rules and under the framework of the WTO. In recent years China has adopted various measures to further open up its market, protect IPR, promote trade balance, reform the exchange rate formation mechanism of the RMB and standardize the operational order of imports and exports, among other areas, fully taking into account the concerns of its trading partners. When consultations fail to settle a dispute, China appropriately handles the issue with its trading partners through the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, in order to maintain the stability of the multilateral trading system.